We wrote about the slating that took place in Campbell County with the assistance of Democrat participation. That appeal is still making its way up to RPV State Central Committee. One story we have not written about yet is the Democrat involvement in the GOP canvass that took place in Fauquier County on March 22.
First of all, I’ve been involved in Republican politics here in Virginia for almost 20 years and I have never heard of the process that took place in Fauquier County. It is not to say that it is never done or necessarily against the party Plan (although it ought/should be), but I can promise you that Canvass elections are seldom used in this manner in Virginia.
The call stated that only 83 individuals may be voting members of the Fauquier County Republican Committee. Yes, you read that correctly. They limit the number of people that may join their party as voting members. Secondly, if you want to be one of these 83 individuals who get to be voting members on the Fauquier County Republican Committee, you must gather petition signatures from the general public, pay a mandatory filing fee and run as a candidate in the party canvass. Thirdly, any registered voter in Fauquier County (whether they are Republican or not) gets to come vote to determine whether or not you get to be a member of your local Fauquier Republican Committee. Every step of this sounds bizarre, right?
Party canvasses are typically used to elect local Republican nominees for public office. For example, the 10th congressional district just held a party canvass to determine who our nominee would be to replace Frank Wolf, who is retiring. I suppose it also would not be unheard of to even hold a party canvass for chairman of a local GOP committee. But I have never heard of a party canvass being held simply so you can join your local GOP committee. This clearly creates high barriers for participation and makes it very difficult for a grassroots political neophyte to navigate the process. It also opens the door for all those outside of the Republican Party to meddle in our local clubs and elections, which is exactly what happened in Fauquier County.
The big battle was for the chairmanship of the FCRC, supposedly between two “conservatives,” Scott Russell and Cameron Jones. As background, Fauquier County is home of Martha Boneta, whose multi-year private property battle with the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) and Fauquier County government resulted in the Boneta Bill being passed in the General Assembly. There is a huge division in Fauquier County between private property advocates and the environmentalist. Cameron Jones had the support of conservatives and private property advocates. Scott Russell (who is ironically president of the American Spectator Foundation) had the support of no-growth advocates and the PEC.
The election got nasty quickly and the game plan for the pro-Russell supporters quickly became clear. One letter that was widely circulated stated in part,
A group of tea-party and anti-zoning zealots, backed by out of county developers, are trying to take over the Fauquier County Republican Party. If they succeed next Saturday in winning the Fauquier County GOP Chairmanship and stacking the GOP County committee, they will be able to hand-pick pro-growth candidates for the County Board of Supervisors…
…Go vote in Warrenton next Saturday, any time between 9am and 2pm, at the Republican Canvas [sic]. Vote for the candidates on the ATTACHED SLATE: everyone can vote for Chairman and the At Large candidates. Voting should take just 5-10 minutes–you just walk in, show your drivers license, and fill out the ballot.
Another email went out by a Republican candidate running for one of the seats on FCRC that explicitly encouraged non-Republicans to vote in the canvass for a slate that included herself and Scott Russell. It stated in part:
You may share this with other registered voters if you like. There is a well organized and funded effort, within the Fauquier County Republican Committee, to change the direction of the county. These are extreme property rights activists – similar to the activists who destroyed Loudoun County…
…You do not need to be a Republican. Democrats, Progressives, Independents, Libertarians – all registered voters in Fauquier County are welcome to vote in the Fauquier County Republican Canvass on March 22nd, 2014
On the day of the Canvass a remarkable 1200 voters came out to vote for the chairman of the Fauquier Republican Committee and at-large committee members. Credentialing of voters did not check to see if these individuals had voted in Democrat primaries and it did not require them to state their support for the Republican Party. Scott Russell won by approximately 200 votes.
Since the election it has been determined that at least 120 individuals who voted in the canvass have participated in Democrat primaries or given money to Democrats. This doesn’t even capture the number of Democrats who only vote in general elections (and don’t vote in primaries or donate to candidates), since we don’t vote by party registration here.
Tomorrow the 1st District Republican Committee will hear the appeal of Cameron Jones, who is asking for the canvass to be repeated with proper checks in place to prevent Democrats from voting in the election. Clearly Democrats played a critical part in this election. We shall see what they say…
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[…] the Party. Fauquier is a great example of this, where members of the committee in the past have broadcast to the public that anyone (including “Democrats, Progressives, Independents, Libertarians”) could […]
[…] Cameron Jones. Jones filed an appeal to the First District of the Republican Party stating that the canvass had been improperly conducted because the party courted democrat voters and no loyalty to the party and the candidate was […]
As I read the comments here, it is apparent we have some individuals who are just concerned about winning at any cost. I wonder what is happening when being principled is seen as bad, having morals is bad, and doing the right thing is bad.
I see comments using labels such as purist. A definite liberal left tactic of trying to label everyone who does not agree with your point of view. Just because someone believes in principles, morals and doing the right thing does not make them a purist. They just might be a formalist, literalist, traditionalist, doctrinaire, or even a dogmatist. But, throwing around labels is not really addressing the issue.
The issue is pretty straightforward. The purpose of the Republican Committees throughout the state is to support the Republican organization which in turn is supposed to represent and support the citizens who identify with that party. Using members of another party to simply retain control is immoral and is not supporting the goals of the Republican Party. Trying to justify that immorality is ludicrous. People clearly see through the charade and it only serves to destroy the Party as a whole.
Manipulating the rules just to win is exactly what is going on. Just look at what happened to Eric Cantor. It was not about immigration. It really was not even about his failure to communicate with his constituents. It was his immoral behavior where he tried to abuse the rules just to retain power.
Trying to say that someone who bundled a couple of million dollars for the Democrat Party all of a sudden is a Republican is ludicrous. Trying to say that someone who has supported liberal causes their entire life with time and money suddenly has an awakening and becomes a staunch conservative is laughable. To be on the board of organizations that are opposed to freedom and liberty (PEC and the League of Conservation Voters fall in that category), is not being in line with the Republican Party of Virginia principles. To be on the board of organizations that throw 80-90% of their money towards Democrat candidates is not being in accord with the Republican National Committee goals.
While it may be within the rules, it is not within the intent of having a Party of like-minded individuals. If that is indeed the rules, then maybe the rules need to be changed so you cannot become a voting member of the Committee until you have a proven track record of supporting the party by volunteering and/or financially supporting the Republican Party and Candidates.
People who are trying to justify the inappropriate behavior are the very ones that have created the TEA Parties. They have continuously told their fellow citizens that they know better and are justified in their inappropriate and dishonest behavior because they are less dishonest than the other party. Enough people grew tired of that philosophy and are joining with others who are also looking for honest leaders who stand by their principles and morals, even if it means losing in the short term.
I hope that you will see the success of this challenge as a hint that there is some soul searching needed in the Republican Party. It happened once before with one of our greatest modern leaders, Ronald Reagan. It needs to happen again or the Party may find that it will lose the base and lose elections no matter how much money they spend. Eric Cantor was delivered that lesson, so let us refocus before the Fauquier Republican Committee has to learn the lesson through a major loss at the City and County level elections for a while.
Another textbook example of why we need party registration and closed primaries.
I am not sure what exactly are the grounds for this appeal; like it or not, the rules do not prohibit what Jamie is speculating on here. Seems like Cameron should focus on changing the rules rather than trying to change what was a valid, albeit unfortunate for some, outcome. It is this sort of purist, “with me or against me” attitude that some of the tea party crowd puts on, that I just cannot stand. I find it amusing that he would cry foul about this, he wants a ‘clean’, pure vote but he and his cronies at the fauquier free citizen have no qualms about slinging mud and relying on the not-so-pure, i.e. the RINOs, when it suits them. Case in point, the FFC wrote a hit piece on Del. Bobby Orrock for opposing the original Boneta bill in sub-committee in 2013, “exposing” him, complete with a ridiculous photo of some guy flashing in a trench coat. Yet when Orrock came back this year and sponsored the new House bill that ultimately became the law, nothing was said. Seems like they didn’t seem to mind RINOrricks efforts when it suited them. I often wonder if they ever thanked him. I heard that some people, including some of the FFC folks, held a fundraiser for the sponsor of the accompanying Senate bill, not sure if that is true. Maybe they will hold one for Bobby sometime.
I never have met Cameron Jones before but have seen him at events over the past few years. I probably share a lot of his views but I have heard enough about him and read enough at the FFC, that I don’t think think I could vote for someone divisive like that. Or anyone over there for that matter.
The party plan actually does prohibit such activity… Article I Section A(1) of the state party plan states, “All legal and qualified voters under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, regardless of race, religion, national origin or sex, who are in accord with the principles of the Republican Party, and who, if requested, express in open meeting either orally or in writing as may be required their intent to support all of its nominees for public office in the ensuing election may participate as members of the Republican Party of Virginia in its mass meetings, party canvasses, conventions, or primaries encompassing their respective election districts.”
Democrats are, presumably, not in accord with the principles of the Republican Party or they wouldn’t be Democrats… therefore they are not eligible to participate in Republican Party actions.
Since we don’t have party registration, there is no foolproof way to determine if someone is a Democrat or a Republican. Even a record of past support isn’t a good indicator – look at Artur Davis. All the Democrat would need to do is say they’re now a Republican and be willing to sign or say openly they are and that’s about it.
It’s an unenforceable, worthless provision that is easily avoided, as seen here.
I remember years ago driving down to a first district meeting with Janet Jackson. She told me she had to run like a candidate with signatures to be on the committee in fauquier
Janet was a great Republican. She is missed.
Jamie – A couple of points:
1) Just because you have
never seen a canvass happen before, doesn’t mean that that don’t. Maybe you
should have educated yourself on how committees elect their committees before
you ran for senate, it may have helped your race.
2) how is a canvass creating “high barriers for participation” any more than a mass meeting would?Isn’t it easier for voters who can show up, vote, and go about their business? after all, you said a “remarkable 1200 voters came out.” Obviously it wasn’t to hard for those folks, right?
3) Anyone can vote in a mass meeting, or am I mistaken? If someone challenges them, they just have to sign an oath and they can participate. It isn’t Fauquier County’s fault that Virginia doesn’t register by party. Anyone could have been challenged the day of the canvass – both sides were allowed observers – but Jones didn’t challenge a single voter.
4) who is the neophyte you are talking about? Cameron Jones has been a member of the committee for several years and been through the canvass process before and Scott Russell has a history in Republican politics.
5) Why is it ironic thatScott Russell is the president of the American Spectator Foundation? From what I know, he is a staunch conservative.
6) If there were in fact 120 Democrats, as you claim, AND they all voted for Scott Russell, then Cameron Jones STILL lost by about 80 votes, correct? Also – where did you get these numbers from? how do we know they are accurate? you could be just making them up. where is the evidence?
7) Is Cameron Jones counted as a Democrat because he voted in a Democrat primary? How about his supporter Katie Warzinski, who posts on Cameron’s blog, and is a Democrat?
8) Just for your own edification, the Jones supporters got nasty too, calling Scott’s workplace and trying to get him fired.
As for the 1st District, it is in the bag for Cameron. Eric Herr endorsed Cameron and he tried to hear an “appeal” before it was even heard at the unit level, which is against the party plan. If the election is run again, the results will be the same.
Jon, you are missing the boat here.
1) I never said I hadn’t observed or participated in a canvass before. I was stating that a canvass just to join your local GOP is highly unusual.
2) High barriers for entry are pretty obvious. If I want to join the Republican Party in most counties, I just check out their website for the next meeting and show up. They give me a form to fill out and I submit it with my dues. You are then voted in at the next meeting. Pretty straight forward. It is not intuitive that I need to look for a call that is only issued once a year, need to collect petition signatures and place my name on a ballot in an election just to join the local GOP committee.
3) Mass meetings have loyalty pledges to help filter out Democrat involvement. This process did not. That was the precise issue here.
4) I’m talking about your regular citizen who decides they want to join their local GOP committee. It would be completely foreign to them that they would need to collect petition signatures and run for office just to join their local GOP unit.
5) It is ironic because a man who is president of a conservative organization had the backing of the PEC and Democrats.
6) Because no loyalty pledge was required (they were not asked if they were Republican or Democrat) and they were not asked if they would support the nominees. Therefore, there is no way to truly know how many participated in the election. The only ones you can guess at are those who have financially given or voted in Democrat primaries.
7) Again, that is the entire purpose of the loyalty pledge. In the past many have participated in “operation chaos” and crossed over in primaries to mess with the opposing sides elections. Rush Limbaugh was a big advocate for this stuff. The loyalty pledge allows you to unequivocally state you are a Republican and pledge you won’t participate in future Democrat elections. This was not required in Fauquier. Furthermore, evidence in this post clearly demonstrates that Democrats were actively recruited by those candidates running on the Russell slate!
8) Ok. Both sides were intense, but only one side recruited Democrats to participate in a Republican election.
As far as your accusations go against Eric Herr, those are pretty darn bold. Regardless, that is why the appeal process exists and any further disputes can be appealed directly to State Central Committee.
while I might sign a loyalty pledge with sincerity, its not like it is a binding contract.
You seem like a person who watched a case on TV and are prepared to make judgements without really knowing all the facts.
First, even if it is unusual, it is allowed by the party plan. If the RPV wants to use the top down approach and mandate how ask elections have to be run, the Tea Party majority on the SCC should chandler the party plan.
Second, you need to do better research, there is no high barrier to join the Fauquier GOP. Just go to their website and fill out an application or go to the next meeting.
You don’t apply once a year either, you can apply at any time and if there is a vacancy for a voting spot, you will be a voting member in short order. If there is not a vacancy, you can be an associate member until there is one.
Third, is a loyalty pledge required by the party plan? I don’t see where it is. Also, any voter can be challenged at the canvass, Jones decided not to do it.
Fourth, again, it is not a complicated process. Go to the website or to a meeting and sign up. They have a big button that says “join”.
Fifth, you seem long on allegations and short on truth. What evidence do you have that the PEC or Democrats backed him? Do you have an endorsement letter from the PEC or a Democrat? So me the proof – not your conjecture.
Sixth, you said “it has been determined” that there were 120 Democrats who voted. Where did you get this number? Or are you making it up? Heck, I could say that 50% of the people who voted for you were Democrats and you couldn’t prove otherwise. You said “the only ones you could guess at” – does that mean you are guessing? Have you seen the canvass list? If so, who gave it to you?
Seventh, is Operation Chaos in the party plan? Does the party plan give exceptions for Operation Chaos? Giving a response, it seems that you’re okay with Cameron of voting in the 2009 Democratic primary. All candidates for office are required to sign a loyalty, even the ones that that Cameron now says are Democrats all signed saying they will support all Republican candidates from here on out. Again, for voters it is not required by the party plan. If you can show me where it is part of the party planned, I would love to see it.
Eighth, yeah both sides were intense, once I try to his many voters there as possible, and the other one try to get his opponent fired. Seems about right to me.
I didn’t make any accusations against Eric. I’m confused by that comment.
Do you count Cameron Jones as one of those Democrats? He voted in the 2009 Democrat primary.
lol 10 anonymous “guest” up-votes!
I have to laugh at this assertion. This same accusation was raised in other forums and it is too laughable. The process of voting in Virginia was so easy to defraud it is laughable. Back in 2009 you merely showed up at the polls, said your name and address and you voted. No ID, no proof of who you were, just pick a name and address and act like you are that person with enough confidence. Not to mention that you do not sign saying you voted so there is no way to validate that the person actually voted. All you have is a check mark on a piece of paper put there by someone else other than the voter. I personally watched someone make a mistake during voting in Virginia and the voter corrected it before the wrong line was checked showing they voted. Not to mention that the public data is not the actual poll books even, just a transcription.
Nobody that knows Mr. Jones believes this tale, and repeating it does not make it true. You only serve to support the new law that requires voter ID to make sure the records are correct. I would also like to see the poll books have a line requiring the individual to sign stating they are voting so there is no question about who actually voted.
how many people have NOT participated in primaries for other than their own party? I agree with the former NC resident below who suggests changing the law. & I might add this: rather than complain about something that is legal, try to change it!
[…] You can read that Article HERE. […]
U agree with Former NC resident !
Sandy, that is an exclamation (see punctuation you ended your above reply with.) However, you have peaked curiousity by it. So, I’ll pose it as a (slightly restructured) question to Jamie or anyone here who’d care to answer. Do you (fully or on some points) agree with Former NC Resident?
Shall close by adding this: the idea of requiring the standing political parties (tall order attempting to keep such from hereon even being any somewhat honest) to conduct own respective primaries on one same set day holds validity. I reserve my thoughts yet about aspects about upon such.
In NC the parties and candidates don’t control the primaries (and there are never elections by canvass or convention). The State BOE controls them. Since the governor is a Republican now (yay Pat McCrory) the State BOE head is a Republican (Kim Strach) and the majority of the board is GOP as well. Each precinct in each county has a chief judge (what y’all call election officials) and 2 assistant judges. Since the governor is GOP now the chief and 1 assistant are GOP. In the county where I lived, and I assume it’s the same in the others, the county party staffs the precincts with election officials.
The primary is always the 1st Tuesday in May. If needed a runoff for a state race is in June (I forget the date) and a federal runoff is in July. It’s much easier to get out the vote when there is only one primary day statewide. Municipal elections are held in odd years (towns and cities) and the state senate and state house are 2 year terms in even years along with the US House etc. It’s very organized and runs like a well-oiled machine. VA by contrast seems like a hot mess to me.
Why don’t all the grassroots Tea Party and Liberty activists in VA work on drafting a bill that would reform the entire election process in VA? Frankly, after 9 years in NC, which isn’t perfect but way better, I am completely discouraged from getting involved here due to the entire process. VA needs the following: register by party affiliation, state BOE sets primaries and ALL primaries for ALL political parties and are ONE day in May or June, no choosing candidates, delegates etc by canvasses or conventions. County parties and district parties are for GOP registered voters only. Delegates to county and district and state conventions are credentialed by said secretary and only open to registered Republicans (registered an R by 1/31 of that year). That would eliminate “slating” and these good ole boy tactics. Seriously, the blueprint is all there in the NC GOP State Plan of Organization. It’s 1 million times more effective and organized, not to mention fair. And for the record, county and district chairs NEVER endorse before a nominee is chosen. The results we achieved in NC in 2010 and 2012 speak for themselves.
We have been trying for decades to get party registration through the General Assembly (way before even the tea party movement) and both sides of the aisle have been unwilling to pass it. It doesn’t serve their re-election efforts.
Maybe it’s time to try again, and this time with a sweeping bill of electoral reforms and a huge grassroots turn out in Richmond at the General Assembly. I am appalled on a daily basis at the shenanigans that y’all put up with here. I’ve been to a few county meetings and have gotten so disgusted that unless reform happens I’m disengaging from most activities. Not only should party registration be passed but the RPV should redo their POO.
I can assure you that we will never give up with those efforts. Who is your state senator or delegate? You should call them and see if they will carry the bill next year.
My delegate is Mark Cole and I met with him in March and it was one of the issues that I brought up. My state senator is Bryce Reeves. I’ve been told just what y’all here have said; that it’s been brought forth and failed. We need more than a bill, we need to visit Richmond and lobby for it.
Why do the people who want less govt. in our lives always scream for a State controlled list showing the political party for which I am a member?
That’s one of the LAST things I think the Govt. should be keeping on a list.
What next? A State controlled list of what guns I own.
Did you ever stop to think that the elected officials in Richmond are just listening to the people they represent? The only people I know who want party registration are those deeply involved in politics. The average Virginian would probably NOT want to tell the Govt. what political party they belong too.
Have you already forgotten the Obama lead IRS targeting conservatives?
RPV could control party registration tomorrow if they had the political will to do so. We are not any different than a labor union. Try voting in their elections without being a member.
As long as RPV is a campaign, candidate, political consultant driven party that is subservient to Republican incumbents nothing will change. Just like Jamie said it does not serve their purposes.
Please don’t think that we haven’t tried. The General Assembly will never let the bills see the light of day.